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I just d/l these files from the Nikon site a few days ago. The Mode 1 is sRGB, Mode 2 is RGB and Mode 3 is sRGB. So I kept Mode 1 and Mode 2 on the camera. I tried Mode 2 on a photo and the color accuracy of the skin tones was fantastic. I don't know if I will ever use Mode 1 but kept it in any event in the camera - D700. I also kept the Landscape and Portrait controls. They have "Nothing" to do with D-Lighting. They seem to work on color and color saturation, imho.
Again,the D2X - mode 1 is RGB and gives excellent skin tone in my D700.
The Nikon D2X had a different color preset system (prior to Nikon's Picture Controls). Nikon's D2X Mode X Picture Controls (where X is 1, 2, or 3) are designed to emulate the D2X's color presets.
As to exactly how Nikon's D2X color presets were originally formulated, that's something you would have to ask Nikon. (You might as well ask Fuji how they arrived at the exact behavior of Velvia.)
I'm a newcomer to the world of Nikon. Thank you for the explanation. I mostly use the Adobe Standard profile for my D40, but occasionally find that I get better results from one of these other ones. And I just didn't know what they were based on. Thanks again.